U.K.'s Channel 4 axes 'Big Brother'

Gives the network an opportunity to re-evaluate its output

LONDON -- Channel 4 will launch "the most fundamental creative overhaul of its history" after opting to axe its long-running summer reality show "Big Brother" after the series 11 that will air next summer, Channel 4 head Julian Bellamy said Wednesday.

"Big Brother," which has proved both controversial and commercially successful for the U.K. broadcaster, is one of Channel 4's signature shows and is still a commercial hit for Channel 4 despite falling ratings in recent series,

Bellamy, who said he was "ever-so-slightly terrified" of a future without the Endemol-produced "Big Brother" said that the decision would nonetheless give the network an "exciting" opportunity to re-evaluate its output of quirky programs, one-off dramas and returning series, as well as an increased programming budget to invest in new programming brands.

"Big Brother has been our most influential and popular program over the last decade," said Bellamy.

"It has been hugely innovative in its own right, has provoked a really astonishing level of public debate and has been an underappreciated showcase for social diversity and youth culture," he added.

In a statement, Endemol said: "We are enormously proud of our partnership with Channel 4 in the U.K. where, as stated by the channel today, Big Brother continues to be commercially successful a decade on. Internationally the format is a worldwide hit that is airing across 67 countries in 2009 including the U.S. where Big Brother 11 is having one of its most successful ever seasons after nine years on CBS."
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